Stories

Stories

The Bearded Candlemakers

The Bearded Candlemakers

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: candlemaking, Irish craft, Irish maker story, The bearded candlemakers

We recently asked Michael Morris of The Bearded Candlemakers a few questions about his craft, making process and inspiration: 

What do you make?

I make small batch, hand poured soy candles.  Along with the making process, I also blend each of our scents using our own self-made scent profiling techniques.  We even go so far as to smoke the wax we use for our Turf Fire candle with real turf.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making? 

The studio is built behind my home, right by the Irish Sea and with the Mourne Mountains in the distance.  We used only forestry approved timber and lots of reclaimed wood.  All of which has been soaking up all the scents of our candles and as soon as you step in, that smell envelops you and that is definitely my favourite thing about the space.  Depending on the day there are different tasks. e.g one day could be a pouring day, the next a scent blending day or a packaging day.  Each task has its own sound track (generally a movie sound track) and that's how I get into my work mode.

What is your favourite tool or process and why?

I really love pouring days. They start off with the melter getting switched on and getting filled with wax. As it heats up, all the scents trapped in the wood of the studio begin to release. All the tasks involved are quite methodical, which I love, but it's the smells of each batch as I pour that really makes me happy. Especially because each scent has a personal connection for me.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your turf fire candle and Irish collection? 

To start, I will get the melter on and begin to melt the wax. As it melts I will stick down the wicks into the containers.  Then when the wax is at the perfect temperature, I begin to mix in the oils that I have previously blended and begin to pour...

The inspiration behind the Irish Collection was born from a desire to offer something to the Irish candle market, something that hasn't been seen before, rather than going down the route of Irish Linen or Irish.....something, I wanted to create a range of scents inspired by real places in Ireland that I have a personal connection with. I wanted to do these amazing places justice.  The turf fire candle was on the top of my list, there is nothing else like it on earth and as soon as we smell it, we are reminded of home and comfort.  It took months of work to perfect but it was such a rewarding project to work on.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it? 

The scent blending part of my craft is what continually inspires me, as it is ever changing and I am always learning. Even as a child, I was writing about scent and the stories around it! The thing I love most about it is choice! It sounds rather abstract but by following my passion and working harder than I ever have has allowed me to choose how to spend my time and being able to have that type of choice is awesome.

 Michael will be conducting a candle making workshop in our Drury street studio this September. Participants will learn to blend scent and pour their very own candles. We will be announcing details on this series of workshops later in the month. Sign Up to our newsletter to keep informed or drop us an email. 

 

 

 

The Bearded Candlemakers

The Bearded Candlemakers

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: candlemaking, Irish craft, Irish maker story, The bearded candlemakers

We recently asked Michael Morris of The Bearded Candlemakers a few questions about his craft, making process and inspiration: 

What do you make?

I make small batch, hand poured soy candles.  Along with the making process, I also blend each of our scents using our own self-made scent profiling techniques.  We even go so far as to smoke the wax we use for our Turf Fire candle with real turf.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making? 

The studio is built behind my home, right by the Irish Sea and with the Mourne Mountains in the distance.  We used only forestry approved timber and lots of reclaimed wood.  All of which has been soaking up all the scents of our candles and as soon as you step in, that smell envelops you and that is definitely my favourite thing about the space.  Depending on the day there are different tasks. e.g one day could be a pouring day, the next a scent blending day or a packaging day.  Each task has its own sound track (generally a movie sound track) and that's how I get into my work mode.

What is your favourite tool or process and why?

I really love pouring days. They start off with the melter getting switched on and getting filled with wax. As it heats up, all the scents trapped in the wood of the studio begin to release. All the tasks involved are quite methodical, which I love, but it's the smells of each batch as I pour that really makes me happy. Especially because each scent has a personal connection for me.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your turf fire candle and Irish collection? 

To start, I will get the melter on and begin to melt the wax. As it melts I will stick down the wicks into the containers.  Then when the wax is at the perfect temperature, I begin to mix in the oils that I have previously blended and begin to pour...

The inspiration behind the Irish Collection was born from a desire to offer something to the Irish candle market, something that hasn't been seen before, rather than going down the route of Irish Linen or Irish.....something, I wanted to create a range of scents inspired by real places in Ireland that I have a personal connection with. I wanted to do these amazing places justice.  The turf fire candle was on the top of my list, there is nothing else like it on earth and as soon as we smell it, we are reminded of home and comfort.  It took months of work to perfect but it was such a rewarding project to work on.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it? 

The scent blending part of my craft is what continually inspires me, as it is ever changing and I am always learning. Even as a child, I was writing about scent and the stories around it! The thing I love most about it is choice! It sounds rather abstract but by following my passion and working harder than I ever have has allowed me to choose how to spend my time and being able to have that type of choice is awesome.

 Michael will be conducting a candle making workshop in our Drury street studio this September. Participants will learn to blend scent and pour their very own candles. We will be announcing details on this series of workshops later in the month. Sign Up to our newsletter to keep informed or drop us an email. 

 

 

 

Laura Caffrey

Laura Caffrey

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Drury Street, Dublin, Dublin workshop, Irish design shop

  • What do you make?

I make jewellery. For the past two years, along with my partner in crime Clare, I have been producing a range of jewellery, Names, that we believe reflects both of our skills and personalities in equal measures. We have designed two collections so far, with another micro collection in the pipelines at the moment.

  • Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

Our studio is just above Irish Design Shop, so we share our time between the shop and the studio. Sometimes it can be difficult to change over from shop mindset to studio mindset, tidying up the workbench is always a good starting point, and we always have a to-do list on the go to refer to. It’s a great space with really good light and a great view of all of the comings and goings on a bustling Drury Street. We share the space with six other jewellers so there’s always someone around to chat to.

  • What is your favourite tool and why?

I have quite a few favourite go-to tools, one file that I prefer to all of the others, a nice new calipers that’s great for measuring and marking, but my mini rawhide mallet is probably my favourite. It’s made of rolled up animal hide, so you can use it to shape metal without marking it like you would with a metal hammer, but this one has a little weight inside it, so it gives an extra bit of power behind it, it’s small but mighty!

  • Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your Muriel bangle?

The Muriel bangle is one of my favourite pieces from our second collection ‘Homespun’. It kind of brings together a lot of the ideas in the two collections. The combination of the solid and hollow forms sit really nicely side by side or apart, and move freely around the solid round bangle.

The two moving components were originally formed in wax on the lathe and then cast in solid silver, the casts are cleaned up before being threaded onto the round wire which has been shaped into a round bangle. The bangle is then soldered closed and the whole piece sanded and polished to show off our trademark contrasting matte and polished finishes. The work is all very hands on and the designs are heavily influenced by traditional jewellery skills, used in a way to produce modern, contemporary shapes.

  • What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?

I started in art college full sure that I would be studying either painting or possibly textiles. In first year we had to try out a few courses and for some reason, I tried out metalwork, that one week trial totally changed my mind. I was fascinated by the things you could do with metal, how something so solid can be so malleable. I love that with metal, most things are repairable. With ceramics and glass, if it breaks you cannot really fix it, with metal you can almost always fix whatever goes wrong.

Laura Caffrey

Laura Caffrey

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: Drury Street, Dublin, Dublin workshop, Irish design shop

  • What do you make?

I make jewellery. For the past two years, along with my partner in crime Clare, I have been producing a range of jewellery, Names, that we believe reflects both of our skills and personalities in equal measures. We have designed two collections so far, with another micro collection in the pipelines at the moment.

  • Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

Our studio is just above Irish Design Shop, so we share our time between the shop and the studio. Sometimes it can be difficult to change over from shop mindset to studio mindset, tidying up the workbench is always a good starting point, and we always have a to-do list on the go to refer to. It’s a great space with really good light and a great view of all of the comings and goings on a bustling Drury Street. We share the space with six other jewellers so there’s always someone around to chat to.

  • What is your favourite tool and why?

I have quite a few favourite go-to tools, one file that I prefer to all of the others, a nice new calipers that’s great for measuring and marking, but my mini rawhide mallet is probably my favourite. It’s made of rolled up animal hide, so you can use it to shape metal without marking it like you would with a metal hammer, but this one has a little weight inside it, so it gives an extra bit of power behind it, it’s small but mighty!

  • Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your Muriel bangle?

The Muriel bangle is one of my favourite pieces from our second collection ‘Homespun’. It kind of brings together a lot of the ideas in the two collections. The combination of the solid and hollow forms sit really nicely side by side or apart, and move freely around the solid round bangle.

The two moving components were originally formed in wax on the lathe and then cast in solid silver, the casts are cleaned up before being threaded onto the round wire which has been shaped into a round bangle. The bangle is then soldered closed and the whole piece sanded and polished to show off our trademark contrasting matte and polished finishes. The work is all very hands on and the designs are heavily influenced by traditional jewellery skills, used in a way to produce modern, contemporary shapes.

  • What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?

I started in art college full sure that I would be studying either painting or possibly textiles. In first year we had to try out a few courses and for some reason, I tried out metalwork, that one week trial totally changed my mind. I was fascinated by the things you could do with metal, how something so solid can be so malleable. I love that with metal, most things are repairable. With ceramics and glass, if it breaks you cannot really fix it, with metal you can almost always fix whatever goes wrong.

Maggie Marley

Maggie Marley

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: botanical print, Donegal, fern print, greeting cards

What do you make?

I produce a range of stationery which includes letterpress greeting cards, prints and wedding invitations.  I am presently developing a new product range which will include textiles.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio?

I work from my garden studio in Donegal. It’s a log cabin that my hubby and myself built one weekend with the help of a carpenter. The studio is lovely and bright but it can get a bit chilly in the winter months.

Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

I love the wooden interior, it feels very Scandinavian which is a style I love. I surround myself with nice retro pieces of furniture and objects which inspire me to refine my design ideas. At the moment, because of my peaceful garden outlook, I have been focusing on botanical themes.

What is your favourite tool and why?

Afraid to say it, my favourite tool is my iMac but it's a love hate relationship. It’s great for scanning my drawings, creating artwork for printing plates, and testing colour combinations and patterns, but I hate having to spend long days on it.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your work?

My typographical cards are inspired by vintage type and drawings, I try to keep them very crisp and clean. The botanical Letterpress range involves pressing plants, leaves and flowers in a book which are then scanned and traced to create black & white drawings for plate making. I then use a Vintage 1950’s Adana Letterpress machine to print the designs.

At the moment, I am in the process of developing new work inspired by the rural landscape and the Tory Island Painters. This involves more experimental mark making and repeat pattern designs. Eventually, everything is scanned to my computer so I can finalise designs for production.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession?

When I undertook my foundation course in art college, I fell in love with printmaking, but I ended up studying Graphic Design. Fortunately though, we ended up doing loads of screenprint on the course. Many paths later (which included a stint studying furniture craftsmanship), I returned to hands-on printing with a final degree in Printed Textiles.

What do you love most about it?

I love the whole process from the experimental drawing and research to the mixing of inks/dyes and finally the physical printing, whether it be letterpress or screenprinting.  

You can browse a selection of work from greeting cards to prints by Maggie in our Drury Street shop. Her collection of fern and ivy prints are available through our online shop here

 

 

 

 

Maggie Marley

Maggie Marley

  Posted by Clare Grennan in: botanical print, Donegal, fern print, greeting cards

What do you make?

I produce a range of stationery which includes letterpress greeting cards, prints and wedding invitations.  I am presently developing a new product range which will include textiles.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio?

I work from my garden studio in Donegal. It’s a log cabin that my hubby and myself built one weekend with the help of a carpenter. The studio is lovely and bright but it can get a bit chilly in the winter months.

Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

I love the wooden interior, it feels very Scandinavian which is a style I love. I surround myself with nice retro pieces of furniture and objects which inspire me to refine my design ideas. At the moment, because of my peaceful garden outlook, I have been focusing on botanical themes.

What is your favourite tool and why?

Afraid to say it, my favourite tool is my iMac but it's a love hate relationship. It’s great for scanning my drawings, creating artwork for printing plates, and testing colour combinations and patterns, but I hate having to spend long days on it.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your work?

My typographical cards are inspired by vintage type and drawings, I try to keep them very crisp and clean. The botanical Letterpress range involves pressing plants, leaves and flowers in a book which are then scanned and traced to create black & white drawings for plate making. I then use a Vintage 1950’s Adana Letterpress machine to print the designs.

At the moment, I am in the process of developing new work inspired by the rural landscape and the Tory Island Painters. This involves more experimental mark making and repeat pattern designs. Eventually, everything is scanned to my computer so I can finalise designs for production.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession?

When I undertook my foundation course in art college, I fell in love with printmaking, but I ended up studying Graphic Design. Fortunately though, we ended up doing loads of screenprint on the course. Many paths later (which included a stint studying furniture craftsmanship), I returned to hands-on printing with a final degree in Printed Textiles.

What do you love most about it?

I love the whole process from the experimental drawing and research to the mixing of inks/dyes and finally the physical printing, whether it be letterpress or screenprinting.  

You can browse a selection of work from greeting cards to prints by Maggie in our Drury Street shop. Her collection of fern and ivy prints are available through our online shop here

 

 

 

 

Roy Humphreys

Roy Humphreys

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: Irish design shop, Maker Story, sustainable design, Wood Turning

What do you make?

I make a variety of objects e.g.

  • Bowls
  • Lamps
  • Nest of tables
  • Pepper & Salt Mills and Shakers
  • Key Rings
  • Tea Lights
  • Ornaments (Mushrooms Apples, Pears)

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

When I set up my studio I thought long and hard about the products I was going to produce and with that in mind, I positioned my machinery to create an efficient workflow.

What is your favourite tool and why?

I have many different tools suitable for creating the different pieces; my favourite would be a bowl gouge. It is a strong stable tool made of quality steel and I find it a pleasure to use.

 

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your raw edge bowls?

Raw edge bowls can be quite challenging to make, as the bark can be quite brittle on the seasoned timber. During the shaping process, it is necessary to add stability to the bark in order to give a satisfactory finish. Inspiration comes from the texture of a piece of wood and my vision of what I can create from it taking into consideration the size and shape of a particular piece of raw material.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?

I am fortunate to be part of a family who have been working in the timber business for several generations and this has led me to appreciate and value the importance of caring for our many home-grown timbers. I am the only one of my family involved in craft work. I love to create different shapes and produce a quality finish which is pleasing to see and touch. I aim to give individuality to the home décor.

We have a small selection of Roys's hand turned bowls available through our online shop and our Drury Street shop. 

Roy Humphreys

Roy Humphreys

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: Irish design shop, Maker Story, sustainable design, Wood Turning

What do you make?

I make a variety of objects e.g.

  • Bowls
  • Lamps
  • Nest of tables
  • Pepper & Salt Mills and Shakers
  • Key Rings
  • Tea Lights
  • Ornaments (Mushrooms Apples, Pears)

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

When I set up my studio I thought long and hard about the products I was going to produce and with that in mind, I positioned my machinery to create an efficient workflow.

What is your favourite tool and why?

I have many different tools suitable for creating the different pieces; my favourite would be a bowl gouge. It is a strong stable tool made of quality steel and I find it a pleasure to use.

 

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your raw edge bowls?

Raw edge bowls can be quite challenging to make, as the bark can be quite brittle on the seasoned timber. During the shaping process, it is necessary to add stability to the bark in order to give a satisfactory finish. Inspiration comes from the texture of a piece of wood and my vision of what I can create from it taking into consideration the size and shape of a particular piece of raw material.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?

I am fortunate to be part of a family who have been working in the timber business for several generations and this has led me to appreciate and value the importance of caring for our many home-grown timbers. I am the only one of my family involved in craft work. I love to create different shapes and produce a quality finish which is pleasing to see and touch. I aim to give individuality to the home décor.

We have a small selection of Roys's hand turned bowls available through our online shop and our Drury Street shop. 

Martina Scott

Martina Scott

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: Irish craft, Irish Linen, Maker Story, Martina Scott

What do you make?

I make Hand screen printed framed drawings/designs on Irish linen.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

I am in the process of building a studio, up until now I've been working in a conservatory-style space surrounded by windows light and plants both inside and out. The warm woody natural tones around me make me feel grounded and never far from the nature that inspires me.

What is your favourite tool and why?

My pencil is, and my Steadtler fine black pen and notebook because these are the first marks that are made as I work through ideas, I find it meditative and relaxing.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your print collection?

Screen printing is a messy medium, which requires plenty of newspaper, pinnys and cloths. I develop my own screens and take great care to recreate the fine lines made by my pen. When printing I need to wipe my screens a lot to keep the line fine and clear. The colours I choose need to stand out against the natural Irish linen so I pick strong hues that in some way add to the image I created.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?

I love to draw, I get excited about drawings, preliminary sketches, anything that show the skeleton of the finished idea, I wanted to reproduce this and found screen printing fulfilled my desire to do this. I have found I like the variety of drawing and messy printmaking, I'm evolving and moving along within the medium, therefore my art is changing within this process.

We have a small selection of Martina's prints available through our online shop and wider selection along with some large framed prints available from our Drury Street shop. 

Martina Scott

Martina Scott

  Posted by Laura Caffrey in: Irish craft, Irish Linen, Maker Story, Martina Scott

What do you make?

I make Hand screen printed framed drawings/designs on Irish linen.

Could you tell us a little bit about your studio? Favourite thing about the space and how do you get into the mindset of making?

I am in the process of building a studio, up until now I've been working in a conservatory-style space surrounded by windows light and plants both inside and out. The warm woody natural tones around me make me feel grounded and never far from the nature that inspires me.

What is your favourite tool and why?

My pencil is, and my Steadtler fine black pen and notebook because these are the first marks that are made as I work through ideas, I find it meditative and relaxing.

Can you describe the making process and inspiration behind your print collection?

Screen printing is a messy medium, which requires plenty of newspaper, pinnys and cloths. I develop my own screens and take great care to recreate the fine lines made by my pen. When printing I need to wipe my screens a lot to keep the line fine and clear. The colours I choose need to stand out against the natural Irish linen so I pick strong hues that in some way add to the image I created.

What led you to choosing this craft as a profession? What do you love most about it?

I love to draw, I get excited about drawings, preliminary sketches, anything that show the skeleton of the finished idea, I wanted to reproduce this and found screen printing fulfilled my desire to do this. I have found I like the variety of drawing and messy printmaking, I'm evolving and moving along within the medium, therefore my art is changing within this process.

We have a small selection of Martina's prints available through our online shop and wider selection along with some large framed prints available from our Drury Street shop.